As I write this on Memorial Day, the final day of a wonderful weekend here on the Harbor, I am contemplating what makes this a great nation. First and foremost, I want to recognize our military, which has protected our country and our values, and has fought aggressive enemies throughout our nation’s history. I want to particularly recognize those military members who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. If you are in the military, are former military, or are a family member of someone who died protecting our great country, thank you and God bless you today and always.
Ventura County & City of Oxnard Cooperation Agreement
The big news this month is the settling of issues between the County and City of Oxnard as they relate to the Harbor. When I started in this position, it quickly became evident that one of the most significant issues in the Harbor was the on-going conflict with the City regarding Harbor development and operations. It took a while, but we finally settled these issues with the execution of a Cooperation Agreement last month. This agreement settles operational issues in the Harbor, provides financial relief for Harbor operations, extends the lease for the City Fire Station in the Harbor, and provides a new tax sharing agreement to facilitate more efficient annexations of land from the County to the City in the future.
The most important aspect of the Cooperation Agreement to me is the agreement regarding Harbor development, whereby the Harbor Department and the City agree to work together on Harbor development, from the initial visioning of the Harbor to determine what should be developed, through the search for developers, the development entitlement process and regulatory plan changes as needed. Development in the Harbor has stalled for many years because of this conflict, and this agreement should result in more expeditious, widely accepted Harbor development. Along those lines, the final report for the Harbor Visioning Process will be taken to the Board of Supervisors this month, and the search for quality developers will follow shortly thereafter.
Jetty Work at the Harbor
On a different topic, you probably noticed the large marine crane at the mouth of the Harbor. This crane is part of a federal project to repair the two jetties at the mouth of the Harbor and the breakwater which protects the Harbor from ocean swells. There was recent concern that the structures were being changed in configuration, which could adversely impact the surf and safety along the popular Silver Strand Beach. We have reached out to the Army Corps of Engineers, and have been assured that the structures will be rebuilt in the same configuration as they were originally built.
Finally, as we continue to make plans for the summer events in the Harbor which we missed last year because of the pandemic, including concerts in the park, car shows and the popular July Fourth parade and expanded Farmer’s Market, I highly recommend you make plans to get out and enjoy our Harbor. While the virus is not gone, it seems to be under control, so continue to be safe, but get out in the sunshine, patronize our wonderful Harbor businesses, and enjoy this great Harbor and beach area.
As always, live every day to the fullest.
Mark Sandoval, Harbor Director
Ventura County Harbor Department
Editor’s Note: this message was published on June 1, 2021.